NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 1, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 1, 2022

The Avalanche stage their Stanley Cup victory parade, the Lightning working on trading Ryan McDonagh and signing Nick Paul, the Red Wings hire Derek Lalonde as head coach, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines

THE DENVER POST/COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: The Colorado Avalanche held their Stanley Cup victory parade on June 30 in Denver. During the parade, defenseman Bowen Byram briefly jumped from the fire truck he was riding to mingle with fans along the route. He was nearly prevented from rejoining his teammates by a policeman who thought he was one of the fans.

In other highlights, head coach Jared Bednar gave an emotional speech thanking the Avalanche organization for giving him the opportunity to prove himself at the NHL level. He also praised his players and fellow coaches and thanked the fans for sticking with the club after his difficult first season in 2016-17.

Cale Makar thanked his “underappreciated” defense partner Devon Toews, Mikko Rantanen apologized for “forgetting” how to speak English following the Cup win and drank from a shoe with Artturi Lehkonen, and Nathan MacKinnon joked about finally winning something in his ninth NHL season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In short, a good time was had by all.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman cites multiple sources claiming the Tampa Bay Lightning are working on a trade with Ryan McDonagh. It’s not a move they want to make but may have to for salary cap reasons. The 33-year-old defenseman is signed through 2025-26 with an annual average value of $6.75 million and a full no-trade clause.

Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Ryan McDonagh (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: McDonagh is still an effective defenseman but won’t be easy to move given his age and contract. The Bolts might have to include a draft pick or prospect to make the deal work.

They’ve also got less than two weeks to pull this off. Free agency begins on July 13 and most teams with available cap space interested in acquiring McDonagh could consider more affordable free-agent options if trade talks fall through.

TSN: Darren Dreger reports that the Lightning are closing in on a multi-year contract with Nick Paul. The 27-year-old forward was acquired from the Ottawa Senators prior to the March 21 trade deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Paul’s new contract could be one reason why the cap-strapped Lightning are trying to trade McDonagh. He fit in well with the Bolts, especially during the postseason. He reportedly rejected a four-year, $10-million contract offer from the Senators before he was traded. It’ll be interesting to see what he gets from the Lightning.

DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: The Red Wings have hired Derek Lalonde as their new head coach. He spent the past four seasons as an associate coach with the Lightning and is a former ECHL coach of the year.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: We shouldn’t be surprised that Wings general manager Steve Yzerman went with a former Lightning coach. He’s the one who hired Lalonde during his tenure as the Bolts GM.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: A Bruins source indicated former Dallas Stars head coach Jim Montgomery could become their new bench boss. ESPN.com’s Kevin Weekes reports he’s been offered a three-year contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A formal announcement could come as early as today (July 1). Montgomery spent the past two seasons as an assistant coach with the St. Louis Blues.

WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets are reportedly targeting Rick Tocchet as their new head coach. They’ve made him an offer but a deal had yet to be finalized. Tocchet is a former head coach of the Lightning and the Arizona Coyotes.

SPORTSNET: The Toronto Maple Leafs are open to trading the rights of pending UFA defenseman Ilya Mikheyev.

TSN: The Buffalo Sabres signed goaltender Craig Anderson to a one-year, $1.5 million contract. He was slated to become a UFA on July 13.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: The Blues Jackets acquired gritty forward Mathieu Olivier from the Nashville Predators in exchange for a 2022 fourth-round pick that the Jackets acquired from the Toronto Maple Leafs last year.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: The Stars signed goaltender Scott Wedgewood to a two-year contract extension worth $1 million per season. He’ll serve as Jake Oettinger’s backup.

SPORTSNET: Ottawa Senators defenseman Victor Mete released a statement on social media yesterday indicating he was not present at the Hockey Canada gala in 2018 that is now the focus of sexual assault allegations.

Mete, a member of Canada’s World Junior team in 2017-18, said he was deeply troubled by the allegations. He indicated he was vacationing in Jamaica with his family at the time of the alleged incident and only learned about the situation recently through media reports. He added he’d be willing to fully cooperate if requested by those investigating the matter.

Agents for NHL players Cal Foote and Dante Fabbro recently issued statements saying their clients also weren’t involved in the incident.

TSN: Speaking of the Senators, they’ve informed forward Adam Gaudette that he won’t be receiving a qualifying offer, making him an unrestricted free agent on July 13. The club also announced they’ve hired Trent Mann and Ryan Bowness (son of former Stars coach Rick Bowness) as assistant general managers.

WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: The Capitals have promoted Emily Engel-Natzke as their new NHL video coordinator. She becomes the first woman to be hired as part of the full-time coaching staff of an NHL club.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 5, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 5, 2021

Patrice Bergeron and Brock Nelson each have four-goal performances, the aftermath of the Jack Eichel trade and much more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Patrice Bergeron had a natural hat trick (all on the power play) on his way to a four-goal performance as the Boston Bruins beat the Detroit Red Wings 5-1. Brad Marchand collected four assists for the Bruins (5-3-0). Red Wings captain Dylan Larkin missed this game for personal reasons as his club’s record fell to 4-5-2.

Boston Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bergeron, 36, became the second-oldest player behind Johnny Bucyk to score four goals in a game. Bucyk was 38 when he had his final four-goal game back in 1974.

New York Islanders center Brock Nelson also tallied four goals as his club whipped the Montreal Canadiens 6-2. Anthony Beauvillier had three assists and Zach Parise had two for the Isles (4-2-2) while the hapless Habs fall to 3-9-0. Canadiens forward Jonathan Drouin (day-to-day) missed the game with a head injury.

Jordan Eberle tallied the first hat trick in Seattle Kraken history in a 5-2 victory over the Buffalo Sabres. Jaden Schwartz had a goal and two assists for the Kraken (4-6-1) while the Sabres 5-4-1 dropped their third straight game.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Kraken aren’t going to enjoy an inaugural season like the Vegas Golden Knights did but they’re off to a respectable start. They’re certainly not an easy two points.

The Florida Panthers extended their points streak to 10 games by nipping the Washington 5-4 on an overtime goal by Eetu Luostarinen. Aleksander Barkov scored twice for the Panthers (9-0-1), who blew 2-0 and 4-1 leads as the Capitals (5-1-4) battled back to force the extra frame. Panthers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky left the game with an upper-body injury in the first period. Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin had three points, including his 740th career goal to put him one behind Brett Hull for fourth on the all-time goal-scoring list.

John Tavares’ game-tying goal late in the third period set the stage for William Nylander’s overtime winner as the Toronto Maple Leafs (6-4-1) rallied to down the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-1. Pat Maroon scored for the Lightning (5-3-2). The Leafs have won four straight. Tavares took exception to an illegal hit to the head by Lightning defenseman Mikhail Sergachev on Mitch Marner, immediately coming to his teammate’s defense. Sergachev received a two-minute penalty. 

The Vegas Golden Knights improved their record to 5-5-0 by dropping the Ottawa Senators 5-1. Robin Lehner made 38 saves for the win and Jonathan Marchessault scored two goals. Brady Tkachuk replied for the Senators as their record slips to 3-6-1.

An overtime goal by Kris Letang lifted the Pittsburgh Penguins (4-3-2) over the Philadelphia Flyers 3-2 to snap a three-game losing streak. Tristan Jarry picked up the win with a 36-save effort. The Penguins played without head coach Mike Sullivan as he entered the COVID protocol. Travis Konecny and Scott Laughton scored for the Flyers (5-2-2).

Jamie Benn scored in overtime as the Dallas Stars (4-4-2) broke a four-game skid to snuff out the Calgary Flames 4-3. Stars defenseman Miro Heiskanen picked up three assists. The Flames (6-1-3) extended their points streak to nine games.

The St. Louis Blues extended their record to 7-1-1 with a 5-3 victory over the San Jose Sharks. Brandon Saad scored two goals for the Blues while Joel Hofer had a 23-save performance to win his NHL debut. The Sharks slip to 6-4-0.

HEADLINES

SPORTSNET: In an interview with Elliotte Friedman, Jack Eichel thanked Buffalo Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams for trading him to a team where he can under disc replacement surgery to repair a herniated disc in his neck, as well as providing him an opportunity to continue his playing career elsewhere. The Sabres traded the 25-year-old center on Thursday to the Vegas Golden Knights.

Eichel admitted he initially requested a trade following the 2019-20 season after the Sabres failed to qualify for the playoff bubble. He felt the club was heading toward another rebuild but he didn’t want to be a part of that. The 25-year-old center expressed regret over the club’s inability to improve during his tenure. “I really wish that we had won more for the fans because I felt they really deserved it,” he said.

Eichel also spoke about the impasse with the Sabres over his preferred choice of treatment for his injury. The club preferred a spinal fusion over disc replacement because the latter had never been done on an NHL player before. He understood the Sabres’ rights within the CBA giving them the final say but felt it was his body and thus his decision. He hopes to undergo the surgery next week.

Vegas Golden Knights general manager Kelly McCrimmon expects Eichel will be sidelined three-to-five months recovering from the disc replacement.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some fans have criticized Eichel for not doing more to make the Sabres a better club during his tenure but I think that’s an unfair assessment. He led all Sabres with 355 points in 375 games during his tenure, averaging 0.95 points per game.

The fault lies with the Sabres front office. Three general managers failed to surround Eichel with a strong supporting cast while four different head coaches led to constantly changing systems that hurt some players’ development.

TSN: The New York Islanders traded the rights to defenseman Johnny Boychuk to the Sabres in exchange for future considerations. The move enables the Sabres to remain above the $60.2 million salary-cap minimum after trading Eichel yesterday. Boychuk is on permanent LTIR due to a career-ending eye injury and carries an cap hit of $6 million for this season.

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes claimed goaltender Scott Wedgewood off waivers from the New Jersey Devils.

TSN: The executive board of the NHL Players Association voted to approve an independent investigation into the union’s handling of sexual assault allegations by Kyle Beach in 2010 against former Chicago Blackhawks video coach Bradley Aldrich. Beach said he informed the PA of the details of the allegations and blamed Donald Fehr, the union’s executive director, for turning his back on him.

NHL.COM: Marian Gaborik officially announced his retirement from the NHL after 17 seasons. He scored the first goal in Minnesota Wild history and went on to tally 407 goals and 815 points in 1,035 career games with the Wild, New York Rangers, Columbus Blue Jackets, Los Angeles Kings and Ottawa Senators. He also netted 58 points in 84 career playoff games. He helped the Kings win the Stanley Cup in 2014.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Injuries hampered Gaborik throughout his career and ultimately brought his playing days to a close. When healthy, he was a talented scorer, tallying 30-plus goals seven times, including three seasons with 40-or-more goals. Best wishes to Gaborik and his family in their future endeavors.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 7, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 7, 2021

The latest on the Canadiens and Lightning, top prospect Owen Power still leaning toward returning to university, the Kraken announces the hiring of two assistant coaches, the latest contract signings and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Expect the Canadiens to ice the same lineup in Game 5 as they did in their previous contest. That means Jake Evans will replace Jesperi Kotkaniemi again on the third line while Alexander Romanov and Brett Kulak will replace Erik Gustafsson and Jon Merrill on the third defense pairing.

Montreal Canadiens defenseman Alexander Romanov (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That shouldn’t come as a surprise considering those changes contributed to their 3-2 victory in Game 4. Romanov scored an even-strength goal with an assist from Evans.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: Lightning defenseman Ryan McDonagh is enjoying perhaps the best postseason performance of his career. He’s set up several big goals, leads all postseason skaters with a plus-minus of plus-14, and is one of his club’s top shot blockers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: McDonagh’s been overshadowed by teammates such as Nikita Kucherov, Brayden Points, Andrei Vasilevskiy and Victor Hedman. Nevertheless, he’s a big reason why the Lightning holds a 3-1 lead in this series over the Canadiens.

ESPN.COM: A league source told Greg Wyshynski there is “zero chance” Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final will be postponed despite Tropical Storm Elsa bearing down on Tampa Bay. That assessment was made based on the forecast, though NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly indicated they have “an amount of flexibility.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, unless the storm’s impact proves far worse than anticipated, it’s game on tonight in Tampa Bay.

WGR 550: University of Michigan defenseman Owen Power is still leaning toward returning to university for one more season before making the jump to the NHL. Power is ranked as this year’s top prospect. He is expected to be selected by the Buffalo Sabres, who hold the first-overall pick.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some teams might prefer a prospect who could be ready to jump to the NHL right away. However, it’s unlikely Power will drop in this year’s draft order. Many highly-touted prospects need another year or two of seasoning before they’re ready for the big time.

THE SEATTLE TIMES: The Kraken yesterday announced the hirings of Kelly McFarland and Jay Leach as assistant coaches. McFarland will oversee the power-play unit and forwards while Leach will be in charge of the defensemen.

NORTHJERSEY.COM: The New Jersey Devils signed goaltender Scott Wedgewood to a one-year, two-way deal worth $825K at the NHL level.

NHL.COM: The Los Angeles Kings signed defenseman Christian Wolanin to a one-year, two-way contract worth $750K at the NHL level.

WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets yesterday signed center Dominic Toninato to a two-year contract worth $750K at the NHL level. It’s a two-way deal in the first season.

CBS SPORTS: Former Boston Bruins defenseman Steven Kampfer signed a one-year contract with KHL team AK Bars Kazan.

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes have hired Alan Hepple as their new director of pro scouting. He’s the former director of amateur scouting with the Colorado Avalanche.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 8, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 8, 2021

Recaps of Sunday’s action plus the latest on Brandon Carlo, Tom Wilson and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: First-period goals by Anders Lee and Brock Nelson 62 seconds apart powered the New York Islanders to a 5-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres. It was the Isles’ fifth straight victory and the Sabres’ seventh consecutive loss. Nelson scored twice while Jeff Skinner tallied his first of the season for Buffalo.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Islanders (34 points) hold a two-point lead over the Washington Capitals for first place in the MassMutual East Division.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin (NHL Images).

Alex Ovechkin tallied career goal 714 and Ilya Samsonov made 36 saves as the Capitals downed the Philadelphia Flyers 3-1. Before the game, Ovechkin weighed in on teammate Tom Wilson’s seven-game suspension for boarding Boston Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo, calling it “a kind of joke.” Wilson will not appeal the suspension.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I understand Ovechkin is sticking up for his teammate but I wonder if he’d feel the same way if, say, Brad Marchand (like Wilson, a skilled player with a history of reckless play) hit one of the Capitals in the same way Wilson did to Carlo.

New Jersey Devils goaltender Scott Wedgewood turned in a 40-save shutout to blank the Bruins 1-0. Kyle Palmieri tallied the only goal. Speaking of Carlo, he was released from the hospital on Saturday and is listed as week-to-week with a head injury.

The Tampa Bay Lightning overcame a 3-0 deficit to down the Chicago Blackhawks 6-3. Four of their goals came on the power play as they extended their points streak to eight games. Yanni Gourde led the way with two goals and two assists. Blackhawks defenseman Connor Murphy received a match penalty for a dangerous hit to the head of Lightning blueliner Erik Cernak and could face supplemental discipline. The Hawks also played without rearguard Calvin de Haan, who’s ailing from blocking a shot during Friday’s game between the two clubs.

Sebastian Aho had a goal and an assist as the Carolina Hurricanes doubled up the Florida Panthers 4-2. Panthers defenseman Keith Yandle played his 1,000th career NHL game. With the win, the Hurricanes (35 points) are one point behind the first-place Lightning in the Discover Central Division and one point ahead of the Panthers.

A three-point performance by Kasperi Kapanen helped the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the New York Rangers 5-1. The Penguins blew the game open with three goals by Kapanen, John Marino and Sidney Crosby within 61 seconds in the second period. Pittsburgh (29 points) moved two points ahead of the Flyers into fourth in the East Division. Rangers defenseman Jacob Trouba picked up an assist in his first game since suffering a broken thumb on Feb. 16.

The Nashville Predators nipped the Dallas Stars 4-3 on a shootout goal by Roman Josi. The Stars overcame a 3-0 deficit with three third-period goals to force overtime and the shootout.

A shootout goal by Drake Batherson gave the Ottawa Senators a 4-3 win over the Calgary Flames, who dropped their second straight game since firing head coach Geoff Ward.

IN OTHER NEWS…

TSN: Edmonton Oilers forward Kailer Yamamoto was fined $3, 854.17 for tripping Calgary Flames defenseman Rasmus Andersson during Saturday’s game.

MLIVE.COM: Detroit Red Wings forward Tyler Bertuzzi remains sidelined by an upper-body injury suffered on Jan. 30. He hasn’t practiced in five weeks and there’s no timetable for his return.

NEW YORK POST: Rangers president John Davidson reached out to Barry Beck after the former Rangers captain recently wrote a scathing Facebook post blaming the Rangers, USA Hockey and the NHL for the death of former teammate Mark Pavelich, who passed away last week at age 63.

Beck believes Pavelich’s struggles late in his life were attributable to head trauma suffered during his playing career with the Rangers in the 1980s. He criticized the club and USA Hockey for what he considered their lack of support of Pavelich. He also called the NHL “cowards” for avoiding discussion about the lasting effect of brain and head injuries suffered while playing. Pavelich’s death is still under investigation.